At a Glance
When Harout Sajonian received a request to bid on a job that would convert an eight-story parking lot into a condominium building, the electrical engineer didn’t have much to go on. “There were architectural drawings but no electrical drawings, and that made the bidding process challenging,” says Sajonian, vice president of T&T Electrical Contractors, Inc.
Sajonian, however, was hired by his company about two years ago precisely to meet such challenges. The master-licensed engineer, who previously did electrical estimating and preconstruction budgeting for construction giant Walsh Brothers, knows his trade well, and he and his new coworkers are constantly working closely to satisfy the needs of a diverse range of builders. Their efforts have solidified T&T Electrical Contractors’ reputation and clout as a 30-year union subcontractor—one remarkably unphased by the economic downturn.
The firm was founded in 1973 by company president Thomas J. Tuton, and it’s now run by him and his son, Thomas Jr., who serves as CFO and COO. The company is so established at this point that it barely needs to advertise, which allows it to budget nearly all its funds toward improving the business.
“We don’t do much marketing,” Sajonian says. “Most of our work comes from general contractors.”
The firm works with such contractors in two main ways: Sometimes, as with the parking garage project, a contractor considering bidding on a job will ask T&T Electrical Contractors to provide a speculative budget for the endeavor. Other times, a general contractor will have already taken a job and will just be looking for bids from subcontractors.
“The general contractor sends the drawings to us along with five or six other union contractors, and we all submit bids,” Sajonian says. “The general contractor then sits down with us and goes through the scope of the project to ensure that we’ve covered everything. If we have, and we’re the lowest bidder, we usually get the job.”
T&T Electrical Contractors also does a lot of design-build projects. “We design it, buy all the electrical equipment, and install it, from A to Z,” Sajonian says. The firm has done such work for a wide array of structures, including high-rise apartment and office buildings, retail stores, restaurants, and parking garages. Recently, the firm completed a $2.5 million job for a Boston College administrative building.
Even the housing market slowdown of the past few years hasn’t hurt T&T Electrical Contractors too badly. The firm only has 15–18 electricians, which is fewer than it had a year ago, but it continues to find new business opportunities in a host of different markets. “We keep ourselves busy,” Sajonian says. “Right now we’re doing a $700,000 luxury office space for a law firm in downtown Boston.”
Moreover, as the firm begins 2013, Sajonian expects to have as many as 60–80 electricians on staff. This is because T&T Electrical Contractors is starting two new $7 million residential jobs, also in downtown Boston: the first, the Victor, will be a 286-unit apartment building, and the second, 120 Kingston Street, will be a 240-unit apartment building.
“We’re able to land jobs like these because our work is of the highest quality, it’s offered at a good price, and general contractors know that we will never leave a job halfway through,” Sajonian says. “We’ll be there until the end.” ABQ